Buslink’s quick thinking floodplan gets kids home safety

AT THE peak of Friday's heavy downpours the benefit of smart planning and foresight saw students safely home across the region.

Buslink, which provides transportation predominantly to state schools as far north as Gladstone, began developing strategies on Thursday morning to manage whatever nature threw our way.

"You can never predict these things,'' Buslink general manager Bertram Birk said yesterday.

"We're here to get kids to and from school. Our drivers enjoy doing it. We work closely with the schools."

No matter if there was just one child on a route from schools across the region on Friday afternoon, there was a bus not only to take them home but also support them where needed to guide them across rain-lashed streets and to their front doors.

"The high schools are easier to manage. They go early,'' Mr Birk said.

"The primary school kids are more challenging. The schools talk to parents and if they release them we get them home.''

Usual trouble spots like the Palmwoods rail bridge underpass require bus routes to be split. Buslink gets a bus inside the flood barrier early. Children are walked across the rail line and down to a bus waiting on the other side.

Mr Birk said marshals were deployed to guide those buses required to back up and turn around from swollen water courses.

He said the use of split services had helped catch everyone who required transport.

"We were very happy with the outcome,'' Mr Birk said.

Buslink has cyclone and flood plans refined over time to meet every contingency.

Mr Birk said they knew the creeks and rivers that would cause problems and brought on additional buses beforehand to cope.

He said he wanted to err on the side of caution.

"It's all hands on deck when published schedules don't happen,'' he said.

"All buses are connected by radio to our control centre. Everyone works through there. No one acts unilaterally. We know where all our buses are at all times."


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